Sewing loft journey – in tropical waters

It’s just me and the fish!

Here’s a little summer project – dresses that take me on a journey, starting here in Florida waters! I’m using my favorite knit maxi pattern, McCalls 6559, as my canvas.

Sewing notes:

  • My draft is size 10. I’ve sewn this version so many times that I can pretty much cut and sew, which can be really relaxing.
  • The front neckline is raised a bit so that it fits more nicely on my chest.
  • The change I love most is to the armhole, which I extended to provide a little coverage and softness over the shoulder and upper arm.
  • That little extension at the bottom of the armhole facilitates a beautiful finish.
  • And I like to finish the neckline on simple knit dresses and tees with a self-fabric band. I attach it on the inside, then fold it over and finish on the outside to diminish irritation to my neck and shoulders. Picky!
  • This cute fabric is STOF France Barracuda Blue, midweight cotton/lycra jersey from Fabric.com.

The ultimate in armchair travel. But in the past…

Where next? Ciao! Coco

Style Arc Elsie camp shirt variation

Well, I never imagined I would like this play on a revere neckline, but I was so wrong! A thank you and shout-out to Karen (@intostitches) for the inspiration to try this pattern! It’s actually really interesting to sew and to wear.

From Style Arc, the real name of this cutie is the Elsie Oversized Shirt:

But with a few changes, it becomes a nifty semi-fitted shirt.

Basics:

  • Redrew the front and back hemlines and drafted a shirt-tail hem. My center back finishes at 25″, a favorite length.
  • Drafted a short-sleeve option.
  • Drafted the back with pleat or no-pleat options.

Other notes:

  • Sewed the size 10, and it’s a perfect fit.
  • Drafted my pattern with 1/2″ seam allowances, everywhere. The pattern includes 3/8″ and 1/4″ SAs, treacherous with woven fabrics!
  • Shortened the bust darts by an inch. For some reason they are drawn out past the bust apex mark. Weird.
  • Annoying (1) the pattern has full-width back and yoke pieces. I had to print the associated pages to get the goodies, but what a lot of wasted paper and ink, since both can be cut on the fold.
  • Annoying (2) it has a single-layer yoke! It’s easy enough to cut the facing, but what an oversight.

Bits and pieces:

I used cotton poplin shirting and Pellon sew-in interfacing, both from Fabric.com. And, yes, I washed and dried the interfacing before using it to avoid shrinkage when the entire garment is washed.

I like to attach pockets before things get going, whenever it’s practical.

The facing is sewn into the neckline and hand-stitched at the shoulders and bottom of the yoke.

It’s easy to reduce the bulk in a double-fold hem! My seams are serged together, stopping at a clip at the fold line. I open the remaining seam allowance, and it’s easy to make those folds.

I love rounded buttonholes on blouses 🙂

A couple close-ups, worn out:

One is never enough – I’m starting a long-sleeve version tomorrow 🙂

Ciao – Coco

Love your machine – Sergers

Absolutely indispensable – a serger. Forget pinking shears and overlocking/zigzag stitches on a sewing machine. Nothing takes the place of a serger for fabric and seam edges. IMHO, a good serger is a great investment in sewing satisfaction and professional finishes.

They work so well – powerful little beasts – that it’s easy to forget that they need care and feeding just like a sewing machine. So, some tips from a lover of a good serger.

  • Simple stuff – clean it. I use both brushes and cotton swabs to get into every nook and cranny. Have you used it for a few hours or on a linty project? Clean it. I actually clean mine for every project, and I do recommend this. BTW, cotton swaps are great for cleaning the bobbin race on your sewing machine.
  • Intuitive stuff – oil it. That machine is pumping its heart out and has so many moving parts- oil doesn’t really last very long. Your serger will love you back for a little oil. I do this frequently, and I use a wonderful oil pen.Varieties are available, Sewing Machines Plus, Wawak, etc., all refillable. They have skinny needles for easy application. Just be sure to use sewing machine oil!
  • Easily overlooked – the needles. Serger needles take a beating, and they should be replaced! Most of the time I have a 90/14 in my sergers, but have changed them for different threads and fabrics. My choice: Klasse universal needles – again, MHO, do not spend money on a serger-specific needle!
  • Don’t drop a needle into the machine while replacing it! I have a nifty brush with a helper-hole on the end, I think it came with my Juki:
  • The tricky bit can be threading the loopers. Try a serger needle threader! it goes in and out all those elusive spaces.
  • Deep cleaning – About once a month I remove all the threads from my sergers and give them a deep cleaning. I’ve had mine for years, and I think a little love goes a long way. My machines, and I recommend them both, mid-price, heavy, quiet, obedient! and old friends. I have tried air-threading machines and ones with dial-tension. I like these. The tension knobs facilitate nuance changes, really important for the loopers and needles:
  • Last thought – cutting blades. When is the last time you replaced these? They are like scissors, but in one project do more than a pair of scissors over many years. And they are easy and fairly inexpensive to replace.

Bye for now – off to a project! Coco

More paper bag pants and exploring the closet…

As promised, another pair of paper-bag waist pants using the Sew House Seven Burnside Bibs pattern (original post here)

I love this Kaufman Essex yarn-dyed fabric in peacock. It’s a combo of navy and turquoise threads. Plus, I just love Essex linen for britches. My pics are lightened, so here’s the real thing:

I sewed this pretty much as I sewed as the grey pair, just changing the pattern to have a waistband, front and back, and keeping the wide waste-paper bag look.

Sewing tips: I’m a fanatic for belt loops that actually support a belt.

Front – I add a belt loop a couple inches out from the CF to support the belt buckle.

Blouse: Named Clothing Saraste shirt

And, back -hello Burberry – I use 2 belt loops at the CB to prevent weighty drag.

I really like these, and wore them today to miscellaneous appointments. Feeling groovy, a little boho.

I have to say that I do not like the encumbrances of the new WordPress editor. I click, click, and click.

Moving on, I went through my belt hanger today and have lots of hardware to salvage!

Ciao! Coco

Burnside Bibs to paper-bag pants

I loved my Sew House Seven Burnside Bibs when I made them (here), but subsequently found I wasn’t wearing them. In fact, I only wore them once – mostly because the straps/belt were so fiddly and not particularly comfortable.

The pants portion, however, is terrific – great big pockets and a baggy silhouette. Really cute. So I decided to do an experiment, i.e., the paper-bag-waist-pants conversion..

Sewing notes – 4 easy steps:

  • Removed the bib 3/8″ above the waistband.
  • Opened the top of the back waistband.
  • Turned in the edges, front and back, and topstitched them to close.
  • The last step was to stitch across the back to form a casing. The stitching is in line with the front waistband – together they form a casing for elastic.

Since I had those nice long drawstrings, I put the narrow sections together for an additional option!

I like these pants so much that I’m planning another pair, maybe not paper-bag, but with a wide waistband.

Bye for now! Coco